< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: God Only Wants Living Sacrifices!

Monday, October 28, 2013

God Only Wants Living Sacrifices!

Judges 11:29-40 29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”

32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands. 33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.

34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break.”

36 “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised, now that the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. 37 But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”

38 “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. 39 After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.

From this comes the Israelite tradition 40 that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

Our Pastor has been doing sermons from the book of Judges for over a month and they’ve all been really good. I especially liked his sermon from the above verses because I would never have gotten the meaning he did myself.

First of all he said that this vow was pagan. Jephthah was saying to God that he had something God needed and God had something he needed. So let’s make a deal!

God doesn’t need anything from us. What He does for us is for His own purposes and because He loves us.

Next, Jephthah was “Canaaniazed”. He was more influenced by the idol worshipping culture then the knowledge that he was supposed to be a light to them!

He also didn’t now God’s character or His will. All he had to do was read Deuteronomy 18:10 to know that God said “do not sacrifice your children!”

And he hadn’t taught his daughter the character of God either because she said “if you promised God then you must do it.” (my paraphrase.)

Then finally; no one stopped him. And this is really important for us because how often don’t we speak up when someone has a wrong belief. Or is worshipping idols. It’s easier to just let them. But we can’t do that.

We too are called to be lights.

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